Why is it so hard to find and keep fellow mommies as friends? As women, we crave interaction and support from other women, it’s hard wired into our nature. As girls we made friends at school and played together and shared common interests; sports, dolls, television shows. Our teenage years might have been a little difficult to find and keep friends, especially if you weren’t popular (like me), but you may have been friends with the other girls on the fringes of different groups. We know how to be friends and the qualities we are looking for in a friend, so why is it so hard to have “mommy” friends?
I have a couple of ideas about this. Moms whether they work outside of the home or are a SAHM have a lot of demands on their time. A mom’s time is precious, after juggling work, the kids, the house, her spouse/partner, she may not have any energy (mental/physical or emotional) to invest in a friend. Some days I barely have any leftover energy for self-care, let alone energy to think about my friends.
The “mommy wars” also plays into today’s women lacking friends. We are put at odds over how we do everything and we are led to believe that there is a “right and a wrong” way to do everything, from how we feed our babies, how we let them sleep, to our overall parenting style. We hope to find a friend that believes everything we do and does everything the same as us- but what if we meet a woman that we like but she doesn’t do anything the way we do? Can we be friends with her? If we do befriend her, are we going to try to “convert” her or will she try and “convert” us? How about a third option- we act like grown women and just enjoy one another’s company without feeling the need to tell her how to do anything?
The third obstacle to having mommy friends is finding them. Where do all the mommies hang out? Well, that depends on what her interests are. She might be at the yoga studio, YMCA or a cross fit box. Maybe she’s at the library during story time or a mommy and me music class. Maybe she’s strolling the aisles of Target or Hobby Lobby with a good cup of coffee and a baby strapped to her in a carrier. My friends are from work, church or fellow army spouses, because that’s where my interests lie. I’ve made a bunch of “acquaintances” via Facebook groups but I haven’t met any of them in “real life”- yet. I think Facebook is a great way to connect with other women and if you have social anxiety it may be a great solution for you.
My best advice for a finding a friend is this- “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly” Proverbs 18:24. When you see that fellow mom strolling your favorite store, don’t be afraid to comment on that super cute mug she’s holding. You may have started a conversation that will lead to your new BFF. You may have to invest in others and show them that you are friendly and willing to invest in them before you are “friends”.Maybe you got a new neighbor who is a single mom or whose husband just deployed; bring her over some “box” brownies. She might just be lonely for conversation that isn’t about Bubble Gupppies too. I think this is key, especially in today’s culture where it is so self-centered and all about “me”. We need to think about others and how we can support them, and maybe, then you will find your friend.
Kristen Jokinen,BS, DONA Trained Doula
We are a team of doulas working together to serve clients and provide a wide variety of support and education.